Tuesday, October 19, 2010

THE OFFICIAL MUNSTERS MAGAZINE NO. 1 (Part 1)

THE OFFICIAL MUNSTERS MAGAZINE
No. 1
Editor: Roger Elwood
Publication Date: 1965
Publisher: Twin Hits, Inc.
Color cover/ B&W interior68 ppg. (including covers)
Cover price: 50 cents
Estimated collector’s price: $13.00 to $112.00

Like it’s rival, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, over at ABC, CBS’ THE MUNSTERS ran for two seasons from 1964 to 1966, which was right through the beating heart of the monster craze of the 60s. Consequently, it’s hard to mention one without the other as they both turned out to be surprise TV phenoms. THE ADDAMS FAMILY’s premier broadcast aired a week earlier, effectively making it the first show out of the gate about a dysfunctional, but (sometimes) hilarious family of monsters. THE MUNSTERS ended up the better of the two business-wise, as it finished slightly higher than its competitor in the make-it or break-it Nielson ratings. Coincidently, both shows didn’t last past the two seasons. However, both shows enjoyed “life after death” and continued off and on in the following years with various cartoon shows and feature films which kept them in the pop-culture eye, all the while maintaining a strong and dedicated fan base.

During the 60s, THE MUNSTERS were so popular there were literally hundreds of sideline promotions and gimmicks based on the show. Toys, games, models, comics – there seemed no limit to what you could find with the visage of Herman, Lily, or Grandpa on it.

There was even an OFFICIAL MUNSTERS MAGAZINE. I can’t say if there were any “Unofficial” Munsters Magazines, but this was promoted, as its title implied, as the one and only “Official” Munsters magazine.

The one-shot was edited by Roger Elwood, a writer most remembered for his science-fiction anthologies. He also seemed to find time to edit a couple of wrestling magazines. In other words, he was a working writer. Other staff members included Otto Binder, who contributed nearly a thousand stories (about 8 a month!) to the famed golden age comic book, CAPTAIN MARVEL as well as the other Marvel family titles, and with his brother, Earle (writing as “Eando Binder”), penned the famous science fiction tale, ADAM LINK-ROBOT (seen later as a graphic adaptation written by Binder and illustrated by Joe Orlando in Warren's CREEPY #2). In addition to more work in the comics world for Timely (later known as Marvel), Quality, MLJ, Gold Key and DC, he also edited SPACE WORLD magazine.

Another notable staff member was Chris Steinbrunner. Steinbrunner was an author, broadcaster, and historian whose special field was the detective story. He was also known as a distinguished Sherlock Holmes aficionado. Of interest to Monsterologists is that Steinbrunner is credited along with science fiction and fantasy author Lin Carter for confirming Robert Bloch’s two inspirations for the Norman Bates character in PSYCHO – Ed Gein, the notorious cannibal serial killer of Wisconsin, and … hold on to your pointy hats … Calvin T. Beck, creator of CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN magazine!









(More MUNSTERS tomorrow!)

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